One of the nicest things about baking is that all your friends, family and colleagues are aware of your passion (and very grateful to share the output from it!) and pass on recipes they’ve found either in publications or online. This recipe comes courtesy of the CCMIL (Caked Crusader’s Mother in Law) who found it in one of her weekly magazines.
My tastes can sometimes be strange and hard to justify; for example, I don’t like mincemeat when it’s in a mince pie but, spread out through a cake I do like it. If I was American, I believe I would have ended that statement with: Go figure.
What interested me about this recipe was that it used fresh cranberries. Up until now, my culinary involvement with cranberries was to open a jar and tip the sauce out into a dish! I think my problem with mincemeat is that it can be very sweet and very rich and the inclusion of fresh cranberries cut through this and balanced the flavours.
The first flavour this cake imparts is the sweet mincemeat, then the spices warm up only to be cut through with the fruity tartness of the cranberry, then the spice fights back. It’s a beautiful cake with so many flavours but all perfectly balanced and complementing each other.
For those of you interested in my holiday ramblings, they can be found here.
Over the upcoming festive period I may make more regular blog posts than usual with all my planned Christmas bakes. I hope you enjoy them as much as my nearest and dearest will!
For the cake:
150g unsalted butter, at room temperature
150g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
100g self raising flour
100g ground almonds
4 tablespoons milk
200g fresh cranberries
For the streusel topping:
25g unsalted butter, cold
75g self raising flour
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
75g Demerara sugar
100g pine nuts (you could used flaked almonds if you prefer)
Optional: Icing sugar to dust
Preheat the oven to 180˚C/fan oven 160˚C/350˚F/gas mark 4.
Line a 20cm round springform tin with baking paper ensuring that the paper comes up above the height of the tin.
Start by making the cake batter: beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Don’t skimp on this stage as this is where you get all the air into your mix.
Beat in the eggs on at a time, along with the vanilla.
Fold in the flour and almonds.
Fold in the milk.
Fold in the mincemeat and the cranberries.
Spoon the batter into the prepared tin and level the surface.
Put to one side while you make the streusel topping: rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Stir in the cinnamon and sugar.
Stir in the pine nuts then add a couple of tablespoons of water and fork it in - just so the topping starts to clump a little. Add a tablespoon more of water if it's still very dry.
Scatter over the top of the cake.
Bake for 1 – 1 ¼ hours but test the cake after an hour – if a skewer comes out clean remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack. If the skewer has batter on it give the cake a further 5 mins then test again. Mine took about 1 hour 25 minutes in total.
Leave to cool completely before turning out and storing in an airtight tin. You can, if you prefer, serve the cake warm for dessert with cream.
Dust with icing sugar before serving.
Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have made.